The "thanks" in Thanksgiving is all about helping others and taking comfort in the bounty we have.
Which is why we dug into our archives to bring you some of the stories we've run this year of local residents that have touched our hearts -- and reminded us what being grateful is all about.
- Bedford resident Bonnie Saran, the chef/owner of Little Drunken Chef opens the doors to her Mount Kisco restaurant on Thanksgiving day for those looking for camaraderie and a meal. For free. She has done this for six years and invites "anyone and everyone" for an early afternoon feast of turkey, turkey, mashed potatoes, Brussel sprouts, chicken tikka masala and more.
- Yonkers resident Amber Lewis started a non-partisan volunteer group called Greater NYC Families for Syria (GNYC4Syria) which works throughout the tristate area to support Syrians locally and internationally.
- Yorktown Heights resident Paula Miritello started My Brother Vinny to help area veterans make new homes by distributing food, clothing, housewares, and furniture. Thanks to 100 percent donations and volunteers, her organization has so far helped over 500 veterans in Dutchess, Putnam, and Westchester counties.
- Mamaroneck entrepreneur Orane Barrett left his job as an investment banker to start "Kool Nerd Clothing" to help lower income children get mentoring/tutoring in the areas of S.T.E.M. His Kool Nerd Movement Tour is the second arm of his brand.
- Purchase College student Quincy Phillips won a Walmart college scholarship and now, thanks to The Ellen DeGeneres show, is being featured as part of her new "Summit Series."
- It's not easy raising kids. And sometimes even harder once they're "Grown and Flown." The two women behind that website -- Lisa Heffernan of Bedford and Mary Dell Harrington of Larchmont were recently named to People Magazine's list of "25 Women Changing The World."
- Scarsdale residents Jen Premisler and her husband, Eric, are just two of the many Westchester residents behind Lifting Up Westchester (LUW), a nonprofit agency which provides homeless and poverty services to individuals throughout the county. Last year, the Premislers helped provide more than 180 gifts and gift cards for the Brighter Futures children.
- Fifteen-year old Jothi Ramaswamy, junior at Lakeland High School in Shrub Oak, has built an organization devoted to building awareness about the power of girls in technology through ThinkSTEAM , her 501(c) 3 non-profit.
- Girl Scout Troop 2997 in Larchmont held a "Walk and Roll" fundraising event for Olivia Vander Woude, a 6-year-old fellow Girl Scout who suffers from a rare genetic disorder that leaves her wheelchair bound. They were raising funds to build a wheelchair ramp for their meeting house.
- Katonah mom Tara Unger's wants to bring more kindness and inspiration into the world -- or at least into her small part of Northern Westchester. Which is why, shortly after the riots in Charlottesville, VA she started painting inspirational messages on stones and leaving them around town.
- Bianca Muñiz, a Sleepy Hollow resident, is a two-time cancer survivor. She got ovarian cancer at age 11, was in remission for years and then was diagnosed with breast cancer at 22. Now she sings and blogs about it, in an effort to help others.
- A passion for giving back has helped catapult a two-month-old Fairfield, Conn.-based spirits company into the limelight -- and onto liquor store shelves. Valor Spirits, founded by Mamaroneck native Alex J. Plitsas and Alex Mackiewicz, who grew up in Shelton, donate 10 percent of their company's net profits to first responders and veteran charities. They're also all about being made in America.
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